Archive for the ‘Art’ category

8

Outside the Lines

{From Deidra at Jumping Tandem}


Remember those boxes of 64 Crayola crayons with the built-in sharpener?

In my world, it didn’t get much better than that.

I could spend hours with a box of crayons and a coloring book. My grandmother or my mother would color one page, and I would color the page next to it.

As the years went by, I took pride in my ability to stay in the lines.

That was way before I knew anything about abstract art.

Before I had seen a painting by Picasso…disjointed and vibrant and true.

It was before I knew about musical dissonance.

Before I knew about markers!

Markers stained my hands and fingertips with c o l o r .

They bled through the paper and left bold tints on whatever lay beneath.

When I held the tip of the marker to a piece of clean white paper, the color spilled onto the page in a brightly-hued, growing circle of ink.

That may have been the end of staying in the lines for me and the beginning of trying to figure out what colors my life will leave behind.

: : : : : : :

Deidra spins inspiration about family and faith at Jumping Tandem, and sometimes it’s her simplest posts that surprise and delight me (like this one).
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in a reader and you’ll experience the same thrill and wonder.
Be sure to follow @
DeidraRiggs on Twitter, too!

Story editor, Robin Dance :: PENSIEVE

Photo credit: Chris Fitz

12

How To Be An Artist

{by Emily of Chatting at the Sky}

Piano was my major until my sophomore year of college. That was when I quit. Required practice and theory classes and hours upon hours in fluorescent lit rooms with Chopin and Czerny did not bring out the art in me, it nearly made it die. I quit simply because I wanted to love it again. It’s the same reason why I will probably never be a real professional photographer. The art of it doesn’t outweigh the responsibility enough, and so I continue to learn at my own pace and in my own way. I take pictures because it helps me see. And that is all.

For a long time, writing was private for me. Over time and through this blog, writing has become something different. Of all the art there is in the world, writing is the art that brings the most satisfaction as well as the most fear. I can avoid the piano for months at a time. But if I don’t write, there is a distinct possibility I might not exist. I know that isn’t actually true, but that is how it feels.

I write for pleasure, for remembering, for learning, for listening, and for money. I can write in the early morning hours as well as late at night. I squeeze it in ten minutes before it’s time to get the kids and quick while the water boils. Unlike piano or photography, the art of writing outweighs the pressure and expectations. For some people, the art of making music is worth the fluorescent lights with Chopin. For me, the art of writing is worth the fear, the risk, and the isolation.

Because I believe I’ve found the art that is also my worship, it is important to me to use it. To practice it. And to share it. When I played piano, it was always really difficult for me to play for people. I was nervous, embarrassed, and tried to avoid it at all costs. If I would have decided that was the art I wanted to pursue, I think I would have gotten better at sharing it. I would argue that unshared art is still art, but it feels more like a hobby. When you invite others to enter in and receive your creativity, then you are doing something holy, worshipful, and also terrifying. And that is the life of an artist.

Emily writes faith-words that become blocks for soul-towers, at her blog.
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Featured by story editor, Sara Sophia | @sarasophia

5
May 12, 2011 | Art, Featured 2, Mr Lady, Wednesday 1

Love Song in a Foreign Language

{Original post by Tarrant Riglio of Retro-Food}

Well you ask me
to sing you a love song
and I smile ‘n say
Hold on
Let me think
~Melissa Ferrick, Love Song

And then I sing you a love song in a foreign language-the language of food, of recipes.You know this blog is your love song. You can pick out the words and hear the tune. But, will you ever understand it? I think you do now.

You have learned the words and the tunes. You have watched my movements as I flip through cookbooks, plan meals and dance my messy way through the kitchen. Just in case…let me explain a bit more because as I thought about how to talk about this curious mixture of love and recipes…I learned more about myself, you, and those whose recipes I cook.

Joseph says I cook because I love. Is that his epiphany or mine? Both I think. I do. I cook to woo. I cook to nourish. I cook to teach. I cook to love. Meals can show off. Meals can feed people. Most of all, my meals are a hug, a kiss, a wink, a thank you, a caress, and the recipes the love songs that play in my cooking.

That is the draw of old cookbooks and recipe cards. Sure, the commercial ones with their funny pictures and fussy ideas on keeping a home amuse me. The ones that sing to me though come from Junior Leagues, churches, Women’s Auxiliaries, ones handwritten on a recipe card, ones with names attached. Those women share the love songs they sang to their families and their friends through their cooking. The ingredients may be foreign or impossible to find in these times. (celery Jell-o for example) The ingredients may just hide behind another name: oleo, xxxx sugar, #2 cans.

But listen to the tune…you know this love song. This is the dinner made for a mother with a newborn. This is the cake made to celebrate a son’s birthday…his favorite. These are the pork chops and potato pancakes counted on to bring a smile to her father-in-law’s face. These cookies sing holiday tunes with Mama in the kitchen with excited children. She tucks these memories away as she tucks the cookies in tins to give to her friends. Recipes sing the love song of a cocktail party or a brunch filled with laughter and friends.The recipe that makes a full meal out of stale bread, an egg and a few slices of cheese? This is a longing love song to feed a family with a bare pantry and days to go before a paycheck.

This recipe? The chocolate fudge pie? It sings a love song of a mother distracting a brokenhearted teen daughter when she learned that not all friendships are forever. Look at this one! It is the recipe for the aspic that great-grandmother made for Sunday dinner. She never said I love you out loud…but she always had a cake on the glass cake stand in the dining room for you. Maybe the Lemon Cheese Cake? The Caramel Cake? Or the beautiful, slightly wicked Devil’s Food cake. Love.

This blog, these recipes, are my love song, their love song, a chorus of voices singing to you. Everything from my kitchen has heard my love song…from the mushroom dish to the hashbrown casserole to Mommy’s specialty and each family member’s special foods. Even the asparagus Jell-o, though no one liked the tune.

So, hold on, let me think, how strange at 39, I am sharing this love song.

Tarrant Figlio writes about the language of food, and of love (which I believe with all my heart are pretty much the same thing) at Retro-Food. Her original post can be found here, and awesomely enough, heard here. Really, you need to hear her read it.

Follow Tarrant on Twitter, and delight in her passions daily by Networked Blogs.

Story Editor pick by Shannon / Mr Lady

1

Real blue sky, and heavy

{by Dana McGlocklin of Urban Utopia Photography}

You ought to have seen what I saw on my way
To the village, through Mortenson’s pasture to-day:
Blueberries as big as the end of your thumb

-From Robert Frost, Blueberries

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Dana McGlocklin is a Seattle based family and fine art photographer.
Hire her
Read her blog
Browse and shop
Like her
Follow @urbanutopiapics

Featured by Story Bleed Editorial Director, Jennifer Doyle | @playgroupie

2

Morocco: And the Benefits of Looking Up

Art and Design Blog Nosh Magazine{Originally posted at My Marrakesh:}
First published on Blog Nosh Magazine on September 23, 2008

It’s morning, and I am meeting my friend Benoit, a French interior designer.

Bab_1_7

We are meeting at Bab al Khemis, which means Thursday’s Door in Arabic. All around Marrakech’s old city, known as the medina, there are babs, or huge carved entryways. Each bab has its own name, and Bab al Khemis it is the entryway to the city’s equivalent of the flea market. Outside the bab, vendors are beginning to throng, displaying broken bits and bobs, as well as an occasional gem or two.

Benoit arrives, and we kiss, French-style, on both cheeks. For a number of years, Benoit designed interiors for the King of Morocco. Now he and his young family have moved to Marrakech and recently have bought a piece of land. Close friends of ours, Benoit and his charming wife Zoo, also a designer, are giving us a helping hand with our guest house interiors.

In T-shirts and cargo pants, we are ready for action. Today we are looking for antique doors and other architectural remnants that will help give our guest houses some character. We have brought along with
us one of Chris’s employees, Khalid, who can be counted on to negotiate in Moroccan dialect so fast that it makes your heads spin.

We venture through the bab and down the narrow streets of the medina. Old furniture spills out of shop fronts. We stop briefly to look at a huge and somewhat battered birdhouse but the owner wants too much for it. We then gaze wonderingly at a 15 foot high metal silhouette of a man playing tennis – he must have adorned a tennis club in the 1940s.
An antique door is examined but it is meant for an outside gate. We continue to work our way into the medina, checking prices, snapping pictures, and taking measurements. As I turn the corner, I spy something out of the corner of my eye: two coffered ceiling panels from the Glaoui period.

The Glaouis ruled over a sweep of southern Morocco from the 18th century until Morocco’s independence in 1956. About the Glaouis, The Rough Guide writes:

El Glaoui , the famous pasha of Marrakech during the French
rule…was a personal friend of Winston Churchill. Cruel and
magnificent in equal measure, he was also one of the most spectacular
party-givers …. At the extraordinary difas (banquets) held in his
Marrakech palace, nothing was impossible– hashish and opium were freely
available for the Europeans and Americans to experiment with, and to
his guest [he] gave, literally, whatever they wanted, whether it might
be a diamond ring, a present of money in gold, or a Berber girl… from
the High Atlas.”

Hmm… Berber girls from the High Atlas aside, these old coffered ceilings have real potential. They are almost 9 feet tall, matching, and have just arrived in the shop from an estate. Entirely hand painted in dark reds and deep golds with flower motifs, they are in very good condition for their age. Khalid moves in for the negotiations. He wheedles, cajoles and pleads with the store owner. I stand nearby, saying nothing but offering my bag of peanuts purchased from the peanut-selling-man, just outside. The shop owner chews and argues with Khalid, his hands gesticulating. The price slowly begins to drop. Phone numbers are exchanged.

Back in the car, Benoit and I discuss how the coffered ceilings might be installed, if I were to purchase them — perhaps suspended from the ceiling with a drop of a foot or so, or perhaps deeply inset into a recessed ceiling. I can tell Benoit likes them. I like them, too. A lot. I imagine guests lying on their beds and looking up.

Would they appreciate this expensive feature, I wonder. My brain whirs. Hours later, Khalid takes the crumpled slip of paper from his pocket. He deciphers the strange handwriting. He makes the call.

The ceilings are mine.

Door_3

Editor’s Pick from Velma of A Smeddling Kiss: Maryam is an American living with her family in Morocco, who blogs about her design-filled life at My Marrakesh. She and her husband have been building a guesthouse for the last several years and the Peacock Pavillions will be opening next spring. And after cruising through her archives and all the luscious design featured there, I now have a new ultimate dream vacation. (Sorry, Venice, you’ll have to wait.) Maryam is also publishing a book, so be sure to head over to My Marrakesh and treat yourself to a virtual Moroccan holiday, then subscribe to recieve updates via e-mail from her site.

2

Photography – Holding Your Viewer’s Attention

Art-design
{Originally posted at Beyond Megapixels.}
first appeared on Blog Nosh Magazine on June 26, 2008

***
One of the most important things your photo should have is an ability to hold your viewers attention. There are a lot of techniques that can be used to help you compose your shot so that people will spend more than a second looking at it. Besides keeping your viewers focused on your photo, the techniques below can also help emphasis your main subject.

There are many ways to hold your viewer’s attention. Here are five that you can easily start off with:

1. VIGNETTE

A vignette is a gradual loss of light and picture quality towards the
edge of the photo due to poor lens construction. Although it is
considered a lens aberration, a vignette is helpful in drawing the
viewer’s attention towards the center of the photo. It also adds
character to a photo since it makes it look like it was taken with an
old camera.


CC Photo by australian overanalyzer

To add a vignette to an existing photo with Adobe Photoshop, refer to our previous article found here.

***

2. SHOOT THROUGH A FRAME

This is probably one of the oldest tricks in the book. You simply choose an
object you can shoot through that frames your main subject.


CC Photo by Jakeliefer

***

3. LEADING LINES

Lines can also help draw your viewer in since the tendency of the eye is to
follow the direction of prominent lines that it sees.


CC Photo by mugley

***

4. FILL THE FRAME

Don’t be afraid to get close. Sometimes a few steps forward is all it takes
to make a good picture great. If the subject is interesting then show
your viewers why by filling your frame with it.


CC photo by Sukanto Debnath

***

5. BREAK A PATTERN

The human eye is always drawn to patterns and whatever breaks a pattern
will automatically stand out. Place your subject against a pattern and
see how much the subject stands out and how the surrounding pattern
holds everything together.

***

Editor’s Pick by Angella from Dutch Blitz:
Lisa and her husband Jeff are not only Canon aficionados such as I, they have a way of teaching people how to take better photos without coming off as condescending.  They are both smart and savvy, and share what they are learning in a way that inspires you to take better photos.

Read more of Beyond Megapixels and be sure to subscribe so you never miss any of their sweet photography tips.

Read the original post, as well the rest of their site.  You will not be disappointed.  I promise.

3

The Feel of Color

Art and Design Blog Nosh Magazine{Originally published on Grown Ups Are Like That}

~

As I reach my hand into the bottom drawer of my desk I pull this out:

rice candy
sun room

honey bear
autumn spirit
october leaves

fall song

and this:

blue overtones
a few brave men
movie star
stonewashed
independence day
ozone

Paint chips are some of my favorite little objects in the world. I love the matte, powdery feel of the sample. Like just-sanded pine. Soft and smooth, their bookmark shape fits comfortably in the palm. The one (and I have many) labeled with names such as submarine, swamp fog, and fizzle has maroon crayon marks all over it. I can close my eyes and feel the transition from chalky pigment to waxy, bumpy lines. I can sit for hours running my fingers over these bits of color that please not only my eyes, but my fingers, too.

In this same drawer I have a small wallpaper sample book from 1978. Like the paint chips, the pages are not just food for the eyes. These sheets are rich with texture. The page called Williamsburg Fruit is durable and thick. They even suggest taking a hard brush to the orange and green fruits “It’s Scrubbable!”

Some are so heavy and the designs raised so much that they actually feel like linoleum rather than wall paper. Maria is a favorite of mine with big pink and yellow posies that look like they are made of tissue paper on a creamy background. The texture is not of embossed flowers, though, but of raised little goose pimples all over the page. The kind you can’t help but run your fingers over again and again.

Barkley is the absolute best, though. It is a traditional decorative floral pattern that is almost Victorian in its ornate quality. With a milky background the pattern itself is a greenish gold. Every time I touch it, though, I am a little sad. It looks so much like a wallpaper that hung in our hallway when we were children. But the wallpaper of my childhood was velvety to the touch. Remember those funky types of papers? I loved, loved, loved this paper and to me it just felt rich in the way pure cream is rich. Or decadent the way strawberries are in January. Completely too much and out of place, but also very, very right. And fun. I look at Barkley and I want to feel that richness again. I want to run down the hall with my hand trailing the walls behind me.

—————

Editor’s Pick by Jenny Motley, Crash Test Mommy.  Christine Green, a stay-at-home mother of two, writes on her blog, Grown Ups Are Like That. Her posts are an entertaining combination of personal stories and memories, writing exercises, artsy inspirational pieces, and yummy recipes. Definitely a good read. Please go check out Christine’s original post, and be sure to subscribe to her feed.

2

Leah Giberson: Artists Who Blog

Art and Design Blog Nosh Magazine{Originally Published on Artists Who Blog}

Leah Giberson’s paintings are beautiful, and how I wish I could see them in person! I’d love to hop over to Boston and have a studio visit, but for the time being I’ll have to be happy with the possibilities the Internet offers us.  Leah is not only a gifted artist herself, she is also one of those artists who encourages others.  It’s been great to get to know her online this year, so I am especially happy to have her as a guest this week. Leah sells top quality archival prints of her work, as well as a selection of originals in her Etsy shop. She has a blog, and posts frequently on flickr. Enjoy, and please don’t miss my questions for you, dear readers, at the end of the interview :)

Why did you decide to start a blog?

To tell you the truth I really hadn’t paid much attention to blogs up until last March when I opened my Etsy shop. Not only did I soon discover a world of other artists selling their work online, but I also found a seemingly endless world of inspiration on their blogs. I’ve had never had any interest in public journaling about my personal family life or reading about others quite frankly, but when I discovered how artists were using their blogs to share artistic inspiration, new work and news, I was thrilled. Then when I started getting visitors to my own blog with their clicks, views and comments I was hooked.

I should give a bit of a disclaimer at this point. I’m not a great blogger. By that I mostly mean I’m not a frequent blogger – at least not on my blog site. I struggle to maintain momentum with my postings. Over the past few months, however, flickr has become a kind of blog alternative for me. I started using it on a daily basis when I was commissioned to make a large painting this past September and wanted to be able to post images of my progress for my client to see. Before I knew it, there were lots of other people leaving comments as well and some very interesting dialogs began. I discovered that I was reaching a MUCH larger and rapidly expanding audience than I had been with my real blog. I also realized that I was accomplishing what I had set out to do with my blog in the first place – to connect with other artists by sharing what I do in my studio and getting to see what they’re up to as well.

How has blogging affected your work as an artist/designer?

To begin with, it’s amazing to be able to post my work in progress or finished pieces and moments later start getting feedback. I admit that I’m an instant gratification addict, so (blogging on flickr) is a perfect fit for me. And while I usually love working from home, I can also feel isolated here in my tiny studio – especially this time of year when the sun sets so early. It really brightens my day to have these kinds of mini studio visits with other artists from all around the world.

In addition and in an unexpected way it’s also led to a new series of somewhat collaborative work. As an artist, I fall somewhere between a photographer and painter. All my paintings begin with photographs printed out onto photo rag paper. I adhere the prints to pieces of canvas and then begin painting directly on this surface. Up until this past summer, I had only used my own photographs to begin paintings. Then last July I came across a photo on flickr that completely captivated me.

I desperately wanted to make a painting based on it, so I contacted the photographer and asked her permission. It turned out that she was thrilled with the idea and (I’m happy to say) with the results. Since then, I have completed at least 10 paintings based on other people’s photographs and continue to look for new photos out there that resonate with me. The photographers who have allowed me to use their images have been incredible to work with – generous, enthusiastic and appreciative. I always give them an archival print of each finished piece and make sure to include credit to them as the photographer as well as a link to their site. It’s been a wonderfully positive and inspiring experience and has connected me with people and places I would never have found on my own.

What are your favorite artist/designer blogs? Why?

Well as far as straight up artist blogs go, some of my favorites include
Kelly Lynn Jones, Brandi Strickland, Jennifer Judd McGee, Nathan Abels and the oh so marvelous Stephanie Levy :-) .

I am motivated and inspired by all of them. Each of these artists/designers is wonderfully talented, generous, insightful and prolific. Now I have to add that almost all of them (I’m still working on you, Stephanie) post their blog images to flickr as well, usually with a caption and link saying, “as posted on (blog name)” and some have additional brief descriptions.

This brings me to my next confession. I like to think of myself as an avid reader. The truth is I’m really more of a picture person and a fairly slow, albeit careful reader. I like headlines, captions and book jackets. So usually when I find myself at a real blog it’s because I’ve clicked on a photo that interests me from my contact list on flickr and that’s what brought me to read more. It’s become a kind of blog digest of sorts for me. With three kids and never ending piles of laundry and dishes to battle, this also helps me be more efficient with my time, because ultimately what I really want to do most of all is paint.

My flickr list is far too long to include everyone here and I encourage you to come take a peek at my contacts, favorites and groups and explore for yourself. Some flickr “blogs” that I love to check out on a regular basis include those by Lisa Congdon, Faythe Levine, Michele Maule, Anthony Zinonos, Hadley Hutton, Julie Beck, Amanda Blake, Alika CooperAmy Rice, Vivienne Strauss, Matte Stephens, Jessica Ann Mills, Brad McMurray, Denizen8

See it’s too long and I haven’t even made a dent in the list, but my morning wouldn’t be complete without taking a peek at what my flickr contacts have posted.  http://www.flickr.com/photos/leahgiberson/favorites

Why do you think blogs have now become so popular with artists and designers?

As I mentioned earlier, I think most of us work in rather isolated environments and are looking for ways to connect with other artists and share our inspirations and motivations with one another.

Do you have any advice for artists/designers who are starting a blog?

Make sure to post your blog images to flickr along with a link to your blog.
;-)

What has been the most positive and inspirational aspect of having a blog for you?

These days I am painting almost full time thanks in no small part to the experience I’ve had online this year with etsy, my blog and flickr.

I have learned over the years that I do my best work under deadlines and that I thrive on positive feedback. Just a fact. Up until opening my etsy shop, I painted only when I was invited to be in group shows and at best that happened every other year or so. In other words, there were some years that I only produced a couple paintings all year. I kept reminding myself that I had a lot on my plate between work and three kids. I reassured myself that lots of my favorite women artists didn’t really hit their stride until they were in their 40′s, 50′s, 60′s or even beyond. The truth was I was pretty passive about developing my career as an artist and didn’t have a clue how to get my foot in the door.

The combination of starting to sell work (originals and prints) on etsy and also keeping a kind of visual journal on both flickr and my blog has helped me reach an audience of artists, customers, gallery owners and bloggers from around the world, which in turn has provided me with a constant incentive to make new work. It’s been a remarkable experience and when I’m asked what I do for work these days, I now respond (without reservation), I’m a painter.

What are your main goals for 2009?

I suppose I should have some concrete goals, but for the most part I just want to keep putting one foot in front of the other and see where that takes me. I’ll keep you posted.

Thanks Leah for your heartfelt words! I know I can relate very well to everything you have shared, and wish you much continued success with your artwork!

*****

Editor’s Pick by Velma of A Smeddling Kiss: Stephanie Levy is an American artist, illustrator and blogger living in Germany.  She has several blogs, all of them filled with her lovely illustrations.  I came across her personal blog and found a link to “Artists Who Blog,” where she publishes interviews with some of her favorite artists, and was instantly struck with Leah Giberson’s paintings.  Stephanie is an incredibly creative person, and whether you check out her recipes at Kitchen Sketches, her interviews at Artists Who Blog, or her personal blog A Studio With A View, you are sure to find some type of artistic inspiration!

4

Live It, Don’t Plan It

Art and Design Blog Nosh Magazine

{Originally published on Three by Sea}

Live It, Don't Plan It

This simple little sign hangs inside the armoire in my studio.  And by studio, I mean the dining room that I’ve taken over as my studio!  That same sentiment is also next to my computer and inside my notebook.  I read it somewhere a few months back and it resonated within me.  It reminded me that life is what you do, not what you plan. Sitting there pondering, and wondering, and thinking, and surfing the internet, and reading about things you would like to do is not the same as doing them.

Holly at Decor8 wrote a great blog post as part of her Creativity Series about “Analysis Paralysis”, whereby one is so overwhelmed with information that they are unable to make a decision.  It seems to be a common affliction among creative types.  Holly goes on to give advice for moving from inaction to action. The post is well worth reading.  Having gone through this myself, I thought I talk about the things that help keep me from getting side-tracked during my journey of starting a business from home.

IMG_4281
My notebook-
This is my one catchall place for the ideas, designs, lists, questions, interests, concerns, etc. that are whirling through my brain night and day.  Just as freeing up memory on your computer allows it to run more efficiently, writing things down allows you to free up space in your mind and move on to other things rather than get slowed down by your thoughts.  Think of it as moving the data to an external hard drive!

I put the “one” above in bold because I used to have a notepad by the computer, a notebook for work, a little notebook in my bookbag, etc. My thoughts were as scattered as the places I wrote them down. No more. Now I use one notebook which I keep close at all times.  It can be as fancy or as utilitarian as you prefer.  I use Moleskine cahiers and jot notes on Post Its that I can then stick in my notebook wherever I want.  The only exception I make is my sketchbook for drawing and working on designs, due to the fact I like big surfaces when drawing or doodling.

My Daily 10-
The number of things you want to accomplish can feel overwhelming at times.  I had so many things that I not only needed to do, but wanted to do, and all while taking care of my number one priority, my 13-month-old son.  I felt like I was spinning my wheels and not getting anything accomplished.  Finally I made a list of things I wanted to get done and ended up with my Daily 10-
Daily 10
Putting it on paper made me realize how intertwined many of the things were.  Sewing, Printing and Blog are work-related, so they count as ‘needs.’ Drawing was a ‘want’, but I realized that it would help my work in Illustrator, which is also a work-related ‘need’.  Same with Photo Stuff.  I have so many photo files I need to tag and organize, as well as photos to take for listing stuff, posting to my blog, personal stuff, etc. I also want to improve my lighting skills, which will help business and personal picture taking.  Connect was a reminder to make sure I keep contact with others in the real world, as it’s very easy to become a hermit staying/working at home.  Exercise and Clean- not my favorite things, but still need regular attention. Read is for actual books, not computer stuff.  I have so many books waiting for my attention.

Ten items may seem daunting, but I decided I’d give each item 30 minutes of my attention each day.  It may not be a lot of time for some of them, but it serves a couple of purposes- 1) 30 minutes chunks make most anything seem feasible. 2) Short amounts of time still add up to progress vs. not doing it all.  I keep my list in the back of my notebook and I refer to it often.  It keeps me focused on my priorities (besides my son), and I’ll make a note in my notebook as I accomplish them each day.  I’d be lying if I said I went 10 for 10 each day. I probably average a 7 or 8 each day because I end up spending more than 30 minutes on something.  However, if I don’t get to something on the list today, I try to make it a priority for the next day, so that it doesn’t go ignored for an extended period.  And writing down what you accomplished serves as a reminder that you are getting things done, even on those days when it seems like you’re not!

Inspiration Online-
I highly recommend Leo Babauta’s blog, Zen HabitsTime magazine named it one the Top 25 Blogs for 2009, and rightly so.  His posts cover: achieving goals, productivity, being organized, GTD, motivation, eliminating debt, saving, getting a flat stomach, eating healthy, simplifying, living frugal, parenting, happiness, and successfully implementing good habits. (list taken straight from his site).  It is one of my daily ‘must read’ blogs that motivates me to be a more productive and overall better person.

Twitter- I might be addicted to this social media site.  MySpace never thrilled me and Facebook is okay, but Twitter is where it’s at for networking with others quickly and easily.  I’ve come across some great people on this site- nice, funny, friendly, smart people. People who are starting or have their own businesses; are into design, art, or crafts; stay home with their kids; know a lot about marketing, social media and branding.  The collective knowledge of people on Twitter is stunning, and I love the instant communication aspect of Twitter.  To chat with and see what others are doing provides a lot of motivation, inspiration, and, some days, reassurance.

So take from this post those things you find helpful, and get going!  Unless you have suggestions for getting unstuck/moving forward with ideas, then I’d love for you to share!

Editors Pick by Amy from Doobleh-vay: Nic is awesome! She is a cool Etsy artist with an amazing blog that inspires me! I love her life by the ocean and her style! The original post and comments can be found here. Don’t forget to subscribe. You can also check her out on twitter!

2

Ice Cream in a Can, Teaching Science

Educationb{Originally published on SusieJ}

This summer, our hill at the lake will be used in yet another ingenious way: to make ice cream for our root beer floats. I was tempted to buy the traditional ice cream maker, but there are so many choices; I quickly became overwhelmed looking at all the bells and whistles. And besides, I have all that boy power just dying to get put to use. Plus, the process of making ice cream by hand… literally…. in the can… is is a great way to introduce some lessons in science. There is the ice cream in a bag method; my boys would surely break the bag in the mixing process. So, I’ve decided to go with the ice cream in a can method.

  1. The first challenge is finding the can. Many recipes suggest using
    a coffee can, but who buys coffee in a can anymore? A better idea is
    to ask for an empty paint can from the paint store. You’ll need two: A
    quart, and a gallon.
  2. Ask your kids to tell you the freezing point of water — or teach
    them — 32 degrees F, or 0 Celcius. Then, ask them what happens when we
    put salt on icy sidewalks. Ask them to start thinking about why we need
    salt to make ice cream.
  3. In the small, clean can, add one cup of milk or half and half, one cup of sugar, and one teaspoon of vanilla.
  4. Optional: add one tablespoon of chocolate syrup — or frozen strawberries.
  5. Use a hammer to seal the lid tightly.
  6. In the larger can, combine the ice and rock salt. Use a thermometer to record the temperature of the rock and salt mixture.
  7. Use hammer again to seal the lid tightly.
  8. Take turns rolling the can down the hill, for about five minutes. This will “solidify” the ice cream.
  9. Explain what’s happening: the ice melts and combines with the salt.
    This “brine” has a lower freezing point — lower than 32 degrees.
  10. After five minutes of rolling, open the large can, and take the
    temperature of the ice. It will be colder than it was the first time.
  11. Open the smaller can. The colder brine was able to get the milk
    mixture cold enough to freeze the milk mixture to make it solid, to
    create ice cream.
  12. You know you’re going to have to whip up another batch right now; the fun was really rolling the can down the hill.
  13. An instant way to eliminate the ice cream headache is to put your
    tongue on the roof of your mouth. Teaching a toddler how to do this is
    something you won’t soon forget.

Editors Pick by Amy from Doobleh-vay: SusieJ is awesome! Susie is an Ohio mother of four young boys who is married to a real life iron-man, she inspires and educates her readers weekly on the joy of parenting. I guarantee you will learn a lot from this wise sexy mama! Go over there now and dive into her archives and be amazed! Read the original post here and be sure to subscribe.  I love her pantry ideas and quick lessons of homeopathic remedies!

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